Yan Bang Cai a Sichuan treat

September 28, 2013 9:19:59 PM PDT
You're not required to bring antacids or Pepto, but a tolerance for chilies is recommended, if you're considering an adventurous excursion to Yan Bang Cai Sichuan in Chinatown. The food hails from the southern part of Sichuan province, near the salt mines.

"..and it's different from like Chengdu and Chongking style and the ingredients are from all over Sichuan province," said owner Frank Zhong.

Chilies in soybean oil; ground chilies; chopped, fresh ones or ground and roasted; they play a starring role in an eye-popping chili chicken - served with ginger and jalapenos, mind you - but also in a stellar mapo tofu, which gets a shower of ground sichuan peppercorns at the very end, providing their signature tongue-numbing properties.

"We call it 'electric peppercorn' because it make your tongue feel like electric," said Zhong.

Dan Dan noodles are another great option, sprinkled as they are with those beguiling ground peppercorns, and like most of the dishes on the menu, they're not for the timid.

"The major flavor of the three dishes is spicy and taste very strong," he said.

Now not everything on the menu is tongue-searingly hot. There are some cold dishes like the cucumber, that you'd be just fine with to play it safe, but honestly, there are a lot of other restaurants in Chinatown where you can get those safer dishes. I say when you come here, you come for the heat.

The restaurant does not offer delivery.

Yan Bang Cai Sichuan
228 W. Cermak Rd.
312-842-7818
http://www.yanbangcaichicago.com/

Also mentioned:
Lao Sze Chuan
2172 S. Archer Ave.
312-326-5040
http://www.laoszechuanarcherave.com/


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